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Halima: 10 Years in Slavery with Ibtissam Saade

Halima: 10 Years in Slavery to Ibtissam Saade

Update 1/6/18 The Halima Documentary is Released

Halima was a slave for Ibtissam Saade for 10 whole years – not a single phone call to her husband and three young daughters. No money remitted home. Constant physical and verbal abuse. Ibtissam and her vicious children maintained to This Is Lebanon that Halima was well-treated and happy working for them. Lies, all lies. We followed her back to the Philippines after public pressure from our page resulted in her sudden release. Now we are releasing the documentary. The truth is out.

Update 4/10/17 Halima is Free!!!

Update 29/8/17  Petition “Free Halima, Slave in Lebanon”

A petition to the Minister of Labour, Mr Mohammad Kabbara, has been launched. Please sign and share widely.


Update 14/7/17 Halima’s Sister Confronts Slaveholder Ibtissam Saade

Halima has been held as a slave by a family in Lebanon for 10 years. She moved there to work for her children, but once she got to Lebanon, Ali el Khatib and Ibtissam Saade locked her away, preferring to enslave her instead of paying her wages.

She is owed approximately $50,000 and the family refuses to release her or pay due wages. Her children and husband have cried out for her return, but Ali el Khatib and Ibtissam Saade believe they are above the law and untouchable. Join us in speaking against them so they they will stand trial for this crime and pay compensation.

Update 2/7/17 Halima’s Family Plea For Her Release

“We want our Mom to come home. We miss our Mom. We did not see her or talk to her for 10 years. We need and love our Mom. Please send her back home.” Ibtisaam Saade does not want to release her personal slave to the embassy. Probably, she’s afraid she’ll talk. #freeHalima

Update 11/6/17 on Halima, the Alkhatibs’ Slave

We have approached, and been approached, by a number of different news agencies and are awaiting their response. If you know of anyone who might be interested in investigating, please contact us. In the meantime, here is a point by point response to Alaaddein AlKhatib’s comments.

“1- Halima is alive and not a slave, as we treat her as a family’s member, not as the website said, or wink from it.”

If I had $10 for every time an abuser said “we treat her like a family member”, I would be a rich man. She is not a member of your family; she is an employee. She does have a family, and they thought she was dead.

“2- Halima is in contact with her family on a monthly basis, she usually call her father every two months and her sister that works in Saudi Arabia every month.”

The above is from the sister who works in KSA. Translation: She did not call us and she only once sent money to us when she had just arrived in Lebanon. We do not want more problems for Halima and are worried she won’t be sent home. The embassy told us she is going home after Ramadan.” Hmm, so who is lying? Alaaddein or Halima’s sister? And, furthermore, her father has not spoken to her once in the 10 years she has been in Lebanon. Not once.

“3- Halima is a good person that is the reason why my parents asked her to extend the duration of the work contract with us and she accepted that, not as the website mentioned that we misbehaved with her.”

Halima will eventually get to tell everyone all about your behaviour.

“4- All of Halima’s legal papers from the General Security, the Ministry of work, and the insurance card, and even her passport had been renewed from the Philippines embassy, and issued in a right way as it should be.”

Prove it. Post pictures. You have provided many lies with absolutely no evidence.

“5- Halima still works with us in our home for the last 10 years.”

No dispute about that.

“6- We had three weeks schedule meeting that took place yesterday in Raouche area with two embassy’s staff and Halima was with us, and she was the subject of the meeting, not as the website mentioned that we had been under pressure and respond after that.”

Amazing coincidence of timing – that you should meet immediately after the post here. If she works for you as a normal domestic worker who has proper papers and is happy in her work, WHY THE MEETING? It is not normal for two senior embassy staff to go out for lunch with the kafeel of a domestic worker. Something stinks.

“7- Halima got half of her salaries and she saved the anther half for the duration she worked with us, so when she get back to her country will be able to open a small project.”

Do you really expect anyone to believe that? Also, she will open a large project not a small one. 10 years salary plus airline tickets and unpaid annual leave comes to a minimum of US$50,000.

“8- The Philippines embassy staff, asked Halima why she didn’t send her family money, and her respond was, she didn’t want to spend on her husband that he got married during this period.”

He has not remarried as attested by her siblings, children and husband.

9- Halima and my mom had agreed three months ago that she will travel back to her country in August this year.

Because you needed your slave for Ramadan. One can only wonder what would’ve happened to Halima if this story hadn’t been posted here.

10- To show that we are transparent, we shared the embassy meetings’ pictures with a journalist asked about Halima via phone, to appear later that she works for the website that start attacking us yesterday.

The embassy sent the picture to her family in the Philippines to confirm that she was alive. If you would like to refute this, please name the journalist.

11- We had done nothing break the law or the humanity rules, we always stand for the rights and the laws of every human.

Oh please. Stop already. We have confidence that the Lebanese government is just and you will do prison time for your abuse of Halima.

الجديد عن حليمة عبدة ال الخطيب
بتاريخ:11/حزيران /2017
لقد تعرضت لنا مجموعة من وكالات الاخبار المختلفة ونحن ننتظر ردهم.
اذا كنت تعرف اي فرد او مجموعة مهتمة او تقوم بالتحقيق الرجاء التواصل معنا.
في الوقت الحالي هذا هو ردنا نقطة تلو الاخرى على نقاط ال علاء الدين.
1- حليمة على قيد الحياة وهي ليست عبدة، ونحن نعاملها وكانها احد افراد العائلة بعكس ما قال الموقع.

“لو كنت لاحصل على عشر دولارات مقابل كل مرة يقول بها المسيء انه يعامل خدامه على انهم فرد من العائلة فكنت لاكون ثريا الان. هي ليست فرد من عائلتك هي فقط تعمل لديك.
هي لديها عائلة ، وهم اعتقدو انها متوفية.”

2-حليمة على تواصل مع عائلتها بشكل شهري، هي عادتا ما تتصل بوالدها كل شهرين وباختها التي تعمل في السعودية كل شهر

“نقلا عن شقيقتها(ليست اختها) التي تعمل في السعودية: هي لم تتصل بنا وقد ارسلت المال مرة واحدة فقط عند قدومها توا الى لبنان.
نحن لا نريد المزيد من المشاكل لحليمة ونخشى ان لا تعود الى وطنها.
السفارة قالت انها ستعود بعد شهر رمضان .
همم، فمن يكذب اذا ، شقيقة حليمة ام علاء الدين؟
وابعد من ذلك ، والد حليمة لم يتكلم معها طوال العشر سنوات ولا حتى مرة واحدة.”

3-حليمة شخص جيد ولهذا السبب طلبنا منها ان تطيل مدة عملها معنا و هي وافقت على ذلك، بعكس ما قال الموقع اننا ظلمناها.
“سياتي يوم تخبر فيه حليمة عن تصرفاتكم “

4-كل اوراق حليمة القانونية من الامن العام و وزارة العمل و بطاقة الضمان(insurance) وحتى جواز سفرها تم تجديدهم من السفارة الفيليبينية و هي مكتملة ومرتبة بالشكل المناسب.

“برهنو ذلك و اعرضو صورا”

5-حليمة لا زالت تعمل لدينا منذ 10 سنوات
“لا شك في ذلك”
6-كان لدينا ثلاث اسابيع لتحديد موعد وقد حصل ذلك البارحة في الروشة مع مندوبين من السفارة وقد كان الاجتماع بحضور حليمة ويدور حول قصتها، بعكس ما قال الموقع اننا كنا تحت الضغط وردينا بعد ذلك.

“يا لها من صدفة جميلة بالتوقيت انكم ستتلاقون تماما بعد عرضنا للقصة على الموقع، اذا كانت تعمل لديكم كعاملة منزل عادية وتملك اوراق قانونية وهي سعيدة بعملها، لما الاجتماع اذا؟
ليس من الطبيعيانا يخرج اثنين من اعضاء السفارة للغداء مع كفيل لعاملة واحدة .
شيء مقرف.
7-حليمة حصلت على نصف راتبها و قد ادخرت النصف الاخرلطوال المدة التي عملت بها معنا، فعندما تعود الى بلدها ستتمكن من انشاء مشروع صغير
“هل حقا تتوقعون من احد تصديق ذلك؟ ايضا بمبلغ كهذا هناك هي تستطيع ان تفتح مشروعا كبيرا.
10 اعوام بنصف راتب شهريا و ثمن تذكرة الطائرة ودفعات سنوية اخرى غير مدفوعة تصل الى خمسين الف دولار كحد ادنى.

8- سال طاقم السفارة حليمة لما لم ترسل المال الى عائلتها، وقالت انها لا تريد الانفاق على زوجها الذي تزوج عليها خلال هذه الفترة.
“هو لم يتزوج”

9-اتفق كل من حليمة وامي على ان حليمة ستعود الى بلدها في شهر اب من هذا العام.

“هذا لانكم تريدون عبدكم في شهر رمضان.
يا ترى ماذا كان ليحصل مع حليمة لولا تم عرض قصتها هنا.
10- لنظهر نزاهتنا، قد نشرنا صور اللقاء مع افراد طاقم السفارة ، مع صحافية كانت قد سالت عن حليمة باتصال هاتفي، وقد تبين انها تعمل لصالح الموقع الذي هاجمنل البارحة.
“السفارة ارسلت الصور الى عائلتها في الفيليبين لتؤكد لهم انها على قيد الحياة،
اذا اردتم نقد ذلك الرجاء اعطونا اسم الصحافية.
11-لم نفعل شيئا مخالفا للقانون او الانسانية، نحن دائما ما نقف مع الحق لكل انسان.

كفى استخفافا بعقولنا، ونحن نؤمن بان الدولة اللبنانية عادلة و ستعاقبكم بالسجن لانكم ظلمتم حليمة .

Update 6/6/17 Halima Is Alive 

Halima is alive and has, indeed, been a slave for the family for 10 years. Fortunately, the Philippines embassy have now direct contact with the employers, who have finally responded due to all the pressure, and agreed to this meeting with embassy staff yesterday in Raouche. Eventually, we hope to have the full story from Halima.

Let’s hope these embassy efforts lead to her going back home to her family after a decade of silence, with the approx US$40,000 owed to her. Will there finally be justice for Halima and punishment for her slavers? Thank you to Halima’s family for sharing the pics with This Is Lebanon.

الخبرية الجديدة حليمة موجودة على قيد الحياة كانت عبدة لمدة عشرة سنين عند هذه العاءلة وماتزل  ولحسن الحظ السفارة الفلبينية صار هناك تواصل بينهم وبين الكفيل

من كثرة الضغط عليهم وافقوا على اجتماع  مع الموظفين الموجودين في السفارة مبارح على الروشة بالنهاية نتمنى معرفة قصة حليمة  لاننا لانعلم قصتها الحقيقية نتمنى من جهود السفارة ان تكون النتيجة جيدة من اجل وصول حليمة الى عيلتها وذلك بعد عشر سنوات صمت وراتب العشرة سنين والمبلغ هو٤٠الف دولار

والسؤال هو اهنالك عدالة في قصة حليمة وقصاص للأشخاص الذين استعبدوها ونحنا نشكر عيلة  حليمة لانها بعثت الصور الى موقعنا.

Original Post: Ali el Khatib and Ibtissam Saade, Where Is My Wife?

My name is Ginaid Kasem and I’m from Cotabato, Philippines. I need your help, please.

My wife, Halima Ubpah, born 16 Jan 1979, left for Lebanon on 12 August 2007 to work as a housemaid for Mr. Ali Khatib and Mrs Ibtissam Saade. We have three daughters now aged 17, 15 and 12 who miss their mother with their whole heart. Our youngest daughter, Soraida, doesn’t even know her mother because she was only two when Halima left.

We received one phone call on 22 August 2007 and then…nothing. Many, many people from inside and outside the Philippines tried to call her over the last 10 years but Mrs. Saade always said “she’s not here”, “she’s out of town” – endless excuses.

We don’t know if she’s dead or alive. The only remittance she ever sent was $100 in 2007. The number of the family is 009611808856. They live in Ramlet el Bayda. We have been told that Mrs. Saade is running for parliament and has something to do with women’s affairs, and her husband is from a well-known family. Please, can someone tell us if our precious wife and mother is still alive in Lebanon??

These are pictures of the building in Ramlet el Bayda where Halima is believed to be kept (click to download).

اسمي جنيد قاسم ، انا من من منطقة اسمها “كوتا باتو” في الفيليبين.
احتاج الى مساعدتكم ، زوجتي “حليمة اوباه” مواليد ال 16/1 عام 1979 ذهبت الى لبنان للعمل كعاملة منزل بتاريخ 12 آب عام 2007 في منزل السيد علي الخطيب والسيدة ابتسام السعدي.
لدينا ثلاث فتيات عمرهم 12 و 15 و 17 ويشتاقون لوالدتهم بشدة.
الفتاة الاصغر وتدعى سريدة لا تعرف امها ، فقد كان عمرها سنتين فقط عندما ذهبت حليمة.
بتاريخ 22/8/2007 تلقينا اتصال من زوجتي، ولم نعرف عنها شيئا بعد ذلك .
خلال ال عشر سنوات الماضية عدة اشخاص من داخل وخارج الفيليبين حاولو الاتصال بها ولكن السيدة سعدي كانت دائما تجيب بانها غير موجودة، او انها خارج البلدة ، واعذار اخرى كثيرة.
نحن لا نعرف اذا كانت على قيد الحياة او لا.
المبلغ الوحيد الذي ارسلته لنا كان 100$ مئة دولار اميريكي عام 2007 .
رقم الهاتف للعائلة اللبنانية هو “009611808856” وهم يعيشون في مدينة تسمى “الرملة البيضاء”.
لقد سمعنا ان السيدة سعدي ناشطة لحقوق المراة ومرشحة للبرلمان ، كما ان زوجها من عائلة معروفة جدا.
ارجوكم اخبرونا اذا كانت زوجتي وام اولادي على قيد الحياة

कृपया मलाई तपाईको सहयोग चाहिएको छ
मेरो नाम जिन्एड कसेम हो र म फिलिपिन्सको कोटावातुबाट हो । मेरो श्रीमती हालिमा उफामा सन् १९७९ जनवरी १६ मा जन्मिएकी हुन् । उनी सन् २००७ अगष्ट १२ मा घरेलु कामदारका रुपमा काम गर्न लेबनान पुगिन । उनी मिस्टर अलिकतिब र श्रीमती इतिहास सादेकाको घरमा काम गर्न गएकी हुन् । हाम्रो ३ छोरीहरु छन्, एउटा १७ वर्ष, अर्को १५ र कान्छि १२ वर्षकी छिन् । उनीहरुले आमाको मायाबाट टाढा रहनु पर्यो । हाम्रो कान्छि छोरी सोरिदाले त आफ्नी आमालाई पनि चिन्दीनन् किनभने उनलाई हालिमाले छोड्दा दुई वर्षकी मात्र थिइन ।
हामीबीच सन् २००७ को अगष्ट २२ सम्म फोनमा कुराकानी भएको थियो । त्यसपछि सम्पर्क हुन नसकेको १० वर्ष भयो । उनले सन् २००७ मा १०० डलर पढाएको बाहेक कुनै रकम पनि प्राप्त गर्न सकिएको छैन । यसबीच फिलिपिन्सबाट र बाहिरी देशबाट पनि धेरै जनाले फोन सम्पर्क गरेर हालिमा बारे बुझ्न खोज्दा मालिक्नी सादेले ‘उ यहाँ नभएको’ ‘त्यो ठाउँ भन्दा बाहिर रहेको’ भन्ने जवाफ दिने गर्दछिन् । मेरी श्रीमती हालिमा जिउँदै छिन् की मरिन हामीले कुनै जानकारी प्राप्त गर्न सकेका छैनौ । हालिमा काम गर्ने घरको नम्बर ००९६११८०८८५६ हो । उनीहरु अहिले राम्लेट इल बैदा भन्ने ठाउँमा बस्छन् । घर मालिक्नी श्रीमती सादे संसदको निर्वाचनमा सामेल हुने क्रममा छन् र बताइअनुसार उनी महिला मामिलासँग आबद्ध छिन् । उनका श्रीमान पनि उच्च परिवारका व्यक्ति हुन् । हामीलाई जानकारी दिइयोस् मेरी श्रीमती, ३ छोरीकी आमा हालिमा लेबनानमा अझै जिवीत छन् ?

እባካችሁ ባለቤቴንና የሦስት ልጆቼን እናት አፋልጉኝ
(አለ ኢል ካቲብ እና ኢብቲሳም ሳዲ)የአሰሪዎቿ ስም ነዉ
ስሜ ጃኔይድ ካስም እባላለዉ ፊሊፒን ኮቶባቶ ከሚባል አካባቢ ነዉ የእናንተን እርዳታ እፈልጋለዉ እባካችሁ ተባበሩኝ፦16 January 1979
የባለቤቴ ስም ሀሊማ አፓ ትባላለች ወደ ሊባኖን የሄደችዉ 12 August 2007 በሊባኖን በቤት ሰራተኝነት ተቀጥራ ትሰራ ነበር።አሰሪዎቿ ሦስት ልጆች አሏቸዉ ዕድሜያቸዉ 17, 15,
እና 12 ልጆቹም ሁልጊዜ እናታቸዉን ይጠይቁኛል ያለቅሳሉ ይናፍቃሉ ትንሿ ልጃችን ሱራይዳ እናቷን አታውቅም እናቷ ወደ ሊባኖን የሄደችዉ ገና የሁለት ዓመት ህፃን ሆና ነው።ሀሊማ አንድ ቀን ብቻ 22 August 2007 ከሊባኖን ደወለች ከዛ በኋላ ደዉላ አታዉቅም የምትሰራበት ቤት ስልክ አዉቀዉ ስለነበር ደጋግሜ ደወልኩ ስራ ላይ ናት ተባልኩ በተደጋጋሚ በሌላ ሰዎች ቢሞከርም ሴትየዋ አንዴ ስራ ላይ ናት አንዴ እቤት የለችም በሚል ምክንያት ልታገናኘን አልቻለችም አስር አመት ሙሉ ፦
ሀሊማ ምን እንዳጋጠማት አላውቅም በህይወት አለች ወይስ ሞተች ባለቤቴ ሀሊማ ከአስር አመት በፊት መቶ ዶላር ብቻ ልካለች ።የአሰሪዎቿ መኖሪያ ቤት ረምለል በይዳ(01-808 856) የመኖሪያ ቤታቸዉ ስልክ ቁጥር ነዉ።ሴትየዋ ፓርላማ እና የሴቶች ጉዳይ ዉስጥ ሲሆን የምትሰራዉ ሰዉየዉ ደግሞ ታዋቂና ባለሃብት ነዉ ።እባካችሁ የልጆቼን እናት አፋልጉኝ
ሁልጊዜም እናፍቃታለሁ ተስፋአልቆርጥም ሁሌም ከልቤ ጠፍታ አታውቅም አለች ወይስ የለችም እባካችሁ አሳዉቁኝ።


Please join us on Facebook and Twitter #WhereIsHalima in hopes that this will result in Halima being restored to her family with full compensation, and result in just punishment for her oppressor.


Name: Ali el Khatib and Ibtissam Saade
Residence: Ramlet el Bayda
Phone Number: 00961-1-808856
Occupation: Possibly in government/women’s affairs?
If you have any other information about this person or story, please contact us at [email protected] or go to thisislebanon.org/contact-us/.

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About Dipendra Uprety

Dipendra Uprety was born in Nepal in 1980. In 1998, aged 18, he moved to Lebanon where he was employed in the hospitality industry. While in Lebanon he met and married Priya, a domestic worker, also from Nepal. Together, they were involved in voluntarily assisting the Nepalese community by visiting ill-treated and battered domestic workers in the hospitals and prisons. Because of Dipendra’s work, he was made a representative of the Nepali Consulate. His wife continued activism and volunteered with the consulate. In 2012, they emigrated to Canada where they have continued to be active in fighting for human rights and justice for migrant domestic workers.

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